“New Years Week” continues.
On December 27, 1977, ABC aired “New Year’s Eve 1960,” the “Laverne & Shirley” episode that showed how the girls spent the last night of the 1950s.
Ah, the “Laverne & Shirley” credits: Sadly, another example of a sitcom that doesn’t quite live up to its terrific theme song. And we’ll do it our way/Yes our way/Make all our dreaaams come truuue/For me and yooou.
The girls are counting the money they’ve collected for the New Year’s Eve party that Shirley (Cindy Williams) is throwing. Laverne (Penny Marshall) wants to go with Norman, the cop she’s been dating, but the “entire Milwaukee police force is on duty New Year’s Eve.” She’s narrowed her remaining options to Jake the Snake, Benny the Newspaper Guy and Herbie Schul.
SHIRLEY: Hmmm. A motorcycle hoodlum, a man with filthy hands and a guy who turns his eyelids inside out.
LAVERNE: Yeah, they’re really nice guys.
The girls learn Laverne’s childhood crush Pete has broken up with his latest squeeze, Beatrice. Shirley tells Laverne if she can lure Pete to their apartment, Shirley guarantees she can persuade him to ask Laverne to the party.
Pete (guest star Craig Littler) brings Laverne home. She puts on some make-out music, but the record she chooses – “Chances Are” – turns out to be Pete and Beatrice’s favorite. “Stupid song!” Laverne says as she rips the record off the phonograph player. Laverne and Pete get chummy when Shirley arrives and begins dropping hints that Laverne needs a date for New Year’s Eve. Before Pete departs, he asks Laverne if he can escort her to Shirley’s party. The plan worked!
Party time! Shirley’s boyfriend Carmine (Eddie Mekka) tries to teach Laverne’s dad Mr. DeFazio (Phil Foster) how to dance the twist: “Just pretend you’re drying your backside with a towel while putting cigarettes out with your feet.”
LAVERNE: Yeah, being here with Pete is like a dream come true.
SHIRLEY: Well, would you look who’s dreaming?
LAVERNE: What? I dream. I just don’t like to talk about them. It don’t hurt so bad if they don’t work out.
SHIRLEY: Well, I’m glad this one’s working out. It’s nice to see you so happy.
Oh, this is going to end well.
Carmine gives Shirley a diary as a present. She opens it and finds the first page already filled in:
SHIRLEY [reading]: January 1, 1960. Dear Diary: Spent New Year’s Eve with Carmine as usual. This year’s midnight kiss was his best ever. After everybody left, Carmine stayed and told me that the nicest thing about the ’50s was me.
CARMINE: And you’re going to be the nicest thing about the ’60s, too.
That Big Ragu is so sweet!
Pete wants to kiss but there’s no mistletoe, so Laverne hangs some oregano. Then Pete’s ex Beatrice enters and plays “Chances Are” on the jukebox. Pete and Bea fall into each other’s arms and begin dancing; Laverne is crushed. Altogether now, studio audience: Awww!
“Yes it is. I just ain’t pretty enough for him,” Laverne says as a slow version of the “Laverne & Shirley” theme begins swelling in the background.
Shirley, take it away:
SHIRLEY: Don’t ever say that. I don’t ever want to hear you say that again.
LAVERNE: It’s true.
SHIRLEY: It’s not true. You’re very pretty. Very pretty. What’s more important, you’re pretty on the inside.
LAVERNE: Big deal, pretty inside. If they ever cut me open, maybe I’ll be Miss America. Pretty inside is what they say to people who ain’t pretty, Shirl.
SHIRLEY: Laverne, you’re pretty on the outside too, and you know it.
Shirley begins singing – Should auld acquaintance be forgot/And never brought to mind – and it’s so awful Laverne smiles.
The girls move to the front stoop, where everyone has gathered to witness the mysterious stunt goofball neighbors Lenny and Squiggy (Michael McKean, David L. Lander) have planned for midnight. A squad car arrives – it’s Norman, the cop Laverne had hoped to spend New Year’s Eve with in the first place!
See for yourself: “New Year’s Eve 1960” is part of the “Laverne & Shirley: The Complete Third Season” DVD set.
Here’s the prime-time lineup for Tuesday, December 27, 1977:
8: “Happy Days”* (ABC), “CBS Reports: Illegal Aliens in Los Angeles” (CBS), “Pine Canyon is Burning”* (NBC)
8:30: “Laverne & Shirley” (ABC)
9: “Three’s Company”* (ABC), “M*A*S*H”* (CBS)
9:30: “Soap” (ABC), “One Day at a Time” (CBS), “Terraces”* (NBC)
10: “Family”* (ABC), “Lou Grant”* (CBS)
For the week of December 25, 1977:
Top novel: “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkein
Top song: “How Deep is Your Love” by Bee Gees
New at the movies: “High Anxiety”
Top TV show: “Laverne & Shirley” (ABC)
In the news: Sadat planned a visit to Sudan